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Not my favorite western, but still a great example of the power of the genre.
A scene of startling departure. A large number of cows move like flowing through the wilderness and the town. That is exactly a red river. The main character's insanity possessed by doing all the deprivation by the Union army creates the last scene.
I have had issues with John Wayne in the past, because I rarely feel like he acts and instead he just plays himself all the time. Also his characters tend to be about the same every time: Experienced, wiser than anyone else, and downright infallible. Sure enough with the opening of Red River I could see I was in for the same thing. While I loved everything that Montgomery Clift added to the film, and Walter Brennan brought some comic relief, John Wayne was going to be the same old thing all over again. The plot had a fine set up, organizing an epic cattle drive that could mean making a fortune or lead to a total disaster, set strong stakes. I just wasn’t excited to have John Wayne leading it. But, for those who don’t know the film, there is a moment in the movie that changes everything. I did not expect this at all. It was a surprising, and downright daring choice for the writers to take things in that direction. Not only was I back on board with Red River at this point, I found it a huge improvement. Now there were added stakes and some more depth to the characters. It led us as audience members to question who was right, and if we now should see one of our heroes as the villain. It was handled so well that I went from worried about John Wayne’s casting to delighted by it because that choice heavily impacted my opinions of what was happening. When they got to the point of introducing Joanne Dru, I was totally falling in love with Red River. The interactions between the lead characters were spectacular in the third act. I loved how the emotional beats connected back to things set up from the first act. It was also great to see how the growth of the relationships developed through the years. The end was perfect, and again subverted my expectations. I still think there were some flaws in the structure of Red River, but nothing that made it feel broken or bad. There were a few scenes that probably could have been cut to keep things moving, but I liked how the whole film had an epic feel, so I wouldn’t want it much shorter. Red River is a movie I will need to watch again soon, because I think my rating will only go up.
Mighty ripe, red tomatoes for what basically is a 2-hr Rawhide with John Wayne instead of Eric Fleming as Gil Favor - and Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates. Some interesting casting but ultimately it's formulaic with very weak roles for the 2 women. Yes, Wayne was an uncharacteristic grump until at the end suddenly he's not - which is cinematically odd obligatory scripting. But it's worth a look if you've got the time. | ~ Norm de Guerre
One Of The Dukes Finest Performances This Movie Is A Masterpiece
Red River may stretch itself a little thin with its 133 minute run time, but the classic actors like John Wayne and Montgomery Clift mixed with the assured direction of Howard Hawks make for an enjoyable experience and a favorite among fans of classic Westerns.
IMO Wayne’s best role/performance. Weak point with the romance plot with Joanne Dru
I think it's amazing how they were able to get so mach cattle in the movie. Watching this movie, you get a sense of what it was really like back in those days. Sometimes they can glamorize westerns, but this one is special. Seeing how it took them days just to cover a couple hundred miles is insane and especially having to maneuver and care for all the cattle.
Great film this one. There were some unexpected turns that took place that I wasn't expecting. It was very well written and acted.
Overall, wonderful Western flick that played by it's own rules. A delight to watch.
A hard-nosed rancher (John Wayne) grabs a hunk of Texas for his spread then, after the civil war, starts a massive cattle drive to stave off bankruptcy. His choice of destination for the drive is Missouri but his adopted son (Montgomery Clift) favours Abilene, which leads to a feud and eventually mutiny. For most of the way this is a tense and brilliant western but it is let down badly by the ending, which is a real cop-out. Perhaps studios dictated there must be a happy endings even back then. John Wayne is terrific and Montgomery Clift, surprisingly, is no slouch as a cowboy, although he did keep reminding me of Ricky Nelson in Rio Bravo (not the other way around as I had seen Rio Bravo first).
I can't believe i had to watch a stupid western just to enjoy a bit of Montgomery Clft. I mean who cares about an old cowboy and his cows in the middle of nowhere? Plus John Wayne spoke in the same tone and facial expression in all his scenes, and the fight scene was anticlimactic.